FIFE COUNCIL have been looking into a hole in Dunfermline for almost two years and say it will cost £50,000 to fix.

It appeared in Viewfield Terrace car park due to subsidence in 2017 and was described as "15 feet deep" by one homeowner who was angry it hadn't been filled in.

Part of the road surface collapsed and this week the council said sorry for the "ongoing disruption" to local residents and motorists.

The hole is outside Viewfield House and under the carriageway they found "historic ice chambers" – commonly used prior to the invention of the fridge – that would have served the 19th century property.

The council has now submitted an application for listed building consent for "essential repairs" and a statement said: "We apologise for the ongoing disruption at Viewfield Terrace car park following the collapse of a manhole cover.

"The works affect cellars associated with the neighbouring category B-listed Viewfield House, where planning permission and listed building consent are required prior to appointing a contractor.

"Works are anticipated to commence in summer 2019 with a construction cost in the region of £50,000."

Viewfield House was built by James Blackwood, Provost of Dunfermline, around 1808 and the building was sold to the Carnegie Trust and used as offices in 1915.

It later became an art school before being converted into eight flats around 1982/83.

Back in October 2017, one of the homeowners, Rocco Gallo, complained to the Press that the crater in the car park was "about 15 feet deep" and had been left untouched for months.

He said: "A huge hole suddenly appeared and it impacted the stairwell near my flat."

Mr Gallo had added: "All they've done is put some cones and a plate over.

"When I first went to have a look at the hole, I was actually quite shocked."

At the time, the council said they were "working with our solicitors to clarify who has the legal ownership and responsibility for the maintenance/repair".

A planning report by the council's Michael Anderson said the south carriageway of the car park was supported on seven masonry arch chambers, finished with an ashlar facade, with a masonry arch bridge between the car park and Viewfield House.

After part of the road surface collapsed, an inspection highlighted defects to the facade, parapets and staircase that must be repaired.

He said: "Upon discovering the chambers, Fife Council's built heritage officer was consulted, who highlighted that these were historic ice chambers serving Viewfield House.

"Due to the historical significance associated with this site, the Scottish Lime Centre was commissioned to undertake and provide a stone and mortar analysis report.

"This will ensure that the correct working practices and materials are used during the repair works."

Mr Anderson added: "Historically, it appears that a steel cover was installed through one of the arches to act as a coal deposit for Viewfield House.

"This has since failed, resulting in a section of carriageway collapsing into the chamber below.

"Unfortunately, access is restricted due to the historic installation of breeze block walls. However, transportation services have since cored this blockwork to uncover the contents located within these chambers.

"Results found a large quantity of rubble located within each chamber."